FTSE gains 0.1 pct; miners, energy stocks support

* Miners, energy stocks in favour as commodities rise

* Banks weak ahead of Queen’s speech

* BoE minutes eyed

LONDON, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Britain’s top share index edged higher early on Wednesday, as buoyant mining and energy sectors offset weakness from banks ahead of the Queen’s speech to parliament.

At 0915 GMT, the FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 3.09 points, or 0.1 percent, at 5,349.05, after closing 0.7 percent lower on Tuesday.

“We haven’t gone down purely because the U.S was up, and that’s because there wasn’t any bad news overnight in the global economy,” said Howard Wheeldon, strategist at BGC Partners.

“But there is still concern out there in terms of the manner in which the UK economy will move from here, (combined) with concerns about the Queen’s speech,” he said.

Miners helped support the index, rebounding after the previous session’s falls, against a backdrop of firmer metals prices.

A target price hike from UBS further spurred Vedanta Resources VED.L, which rose 1.8 percent, with Eurasian Natural Resources ENRC.L, Fresnillo FRES.L, Rio Tinto RIO.L and Anglo American AAL.L adding 1.3 to 2.6 percent.

Antofagasta ANTO.L put on 0.8 percent. Antofagasta Minerals, its mining arm, is on track to meet its 2009 copper output target of 445,000 tonnes and improve earnings for the rest of the year, its chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday. [ID:nN1734717]

As crude rose 0.6 percent CLc1, energy stocks were also in demand. BG Group BG.L, BP BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L put on 0.4 to 0.8 percent.

Among individual movers, Cadbury CBRY.L climbed 1 percent on hopes chocolate makers Hershey Co HSY.N and Ferrero SpA will mount a joint bid for the British confectioner, which could help it fend off a hostile takeover by Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N. [ID:nLI62132]

Positive broker sentiment aided Cobham COB.L, with Morgan Stanley initiating coverage on the aerospace and defence electronics group with an "overweight" rating.

Experian EXPN.L added 0.9 percent. The credit information firm beat expectations with a 7 percent rise in first-half operating profit, boosted by its Latin American business and modest U.S. growth, and said it remains on track to increase full-year profits.


Banks fell, with investors cautious ahead of the Queen’s announcement of the government’s legislative timetable at the annual state opening of parliament.

Britain’s ruling Labour Party will on Wednesday propose a series of wide-ranging new laws to try to derail a resurgent Conservative opposition and head off an expected election defeat in 2010.

Financial regulation plays a key role in the new measures as the government seeks to tighten up governance of a sector still recovering from the credit crisis. [ID:nLH593648]

HSBC HSBA.L, Lloyds Banking Group LLOY.L, Royal Bank of Scotland RBS.L and Barclays BARC.L fell 0.1 to 1.5 percent.

Wolseley WOS.L fell 2.6 percent after the building supplies company warned that market conditions were still challenging as it reported weaker quarterly sales and profits.

Capita CPI.L shed 4.3 percent after a trading update from the outsourcing group was met with disappointment.

Ex-dividend factors took 10.99 points off the index with six companies including Vodafone VOD.L, HSBC, Barclays and Unilever ULVR.L all losing their payout attractions.

On the second tier, ITV ITV.L was the standout gainer, up 5.4 percent after it appointed former ASDA boss Archie Norman as its non executive chairman on Wednesday, bringing an end to a fraught seven-month search.

Investors await the Bank of England minutes, due at 0930 GMT, and hope to find out whether the BoE might consider more economic stimulus, or whether its quantitative easing programme is now drawing to a close.

U.S. CPI and U.S. housing starts data will also attract attention.

editing by John Stonestreet